Smart street light, bike sharing and blockchain: Moscow chooses the world’s best smart projects

Smart street light, bike sharing and blockchain: Moscow chooses the world’s best smart projects
Experts studied the experience of developing digital technology in New York, London, Melbourne, Dubai, Hong Kong and many other cities.

The Department of Information Technology has recently conducted a study on 14 smart cities. Experts analysed a total of 38 smart projects carried out in Barcelona, Boston, Dubai, Hong Kong, Columbus, London, Melbourne, New York, San Diego, Seoul, Singapore, Toronto, Chicago and Helsinki. Their goal was to find key trends in the development of smart cities.

“The research on smart cities showed that Moscow is developing in the right direction: the introduction of the Moscow Electronic School (MES), Integrated  Medical Information  and Analytical System (IMIAS), video surveillance, digital government services, free citywide Wi-Fi, plus the development of the sharing economy and pilot projects carried out in various areas of municipal infrastructure exemplify this,” said Eduard Lysenko, Head of Moscow’s Department of Information Technology.

“We are working on the front lines and are cooperating with other cities and foreign and Russian businesses, as well as start-ups and large corporations. We are studying the global experience to find where new technologies and solutions are implemented, and what can be adopted to improve the processes; where the quality of public services can be improved, and where the management system can be made more efficient,” Lysenko said.

There were six areas of projects researched in the course of the study: human and social resources, urban environment, digital mobility, security and environment, the urban economy and e-government. The department summarised the key trends in the development of smart cities and identified the best foreign projects in these areas.

In social and human resources, all the cities were striving to provide everyone with equal opportunities. To do this, they ensured accessibility of education and individual healthcare. New York, for instance, introduced free workshops on providing psychology assistance, which resulted in a decrease in the city’s suicide rate, while London organised a foundation to support its young people, which reduced unemployment and crime.

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Digitalisation is one of the key factors affecting the quality of the urban environment: this includes the development of artificial intelligence and the IoT (Internet of Things), and working with big data and predictive analytics. Hong Kong, for instance, introduced multifunctional streetlamps that record data on the life in the city in real time. Sensors collect information on weather, temperature and air quality as well as the people and vehicles around them. Moreover, the lampposts also serve as Wi-Fi hotspots equipped with navigation panels, and can be used to charge electric vehicles. They also provide information on available parking spaces. Helsinki has recently made unused urban spaces more available to the public by introducing a service for renting them out.

To increase digital mobility, smart cities are striving to make the use of personal and public transport more efficient. Hong Kong is now promoting an integrated transport app, while New York is implementing environment-friendly transport and developing a docking station free bike-share system.

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To enhance security and improve the environmental situation in the city, experts make forecasts. Preventing adverse situations is another important area. Some cities are working to create a single platform for collecting, monitoring, controlling and processing data which will be able to provide instant warnings and alerts, and which will expedite emergency services during the elimination of emergency situations’ consequencies.  Dubai is now opening its first smart officer-free police stations; San Diego is using drones to respond to emergency situations, Toronto is testing a waste management app, while Seoul is preparing for the launch of its Sleeping Child Check system to ensure safety onboard buses.

Establishing a system for supporting applied research in the digital economy and digital technology-based innovative business models is one of the main trends in urban economy. Singapore, for example, is now introducing an integrated platform for processing bank transactions to be used by cafes and food delivery services.

E-government should be able to provide electronic services and introduce blockchain technology with them. Smart urban financing based on end-to-end digitisation of financial data allows for better control and more efficient use of public funds, plus it can cut or elimination of transaction costs. Hong Kong, for example, launched a project on exchanging cybersecurity-related data, while Dubai introduced the first blockchain-technology based court in the world.